© 2011 Leighann Lord
Do you know who Pat Cleveland is? I didn’t. If I'd been playing another round of Game Night Trivial Pursuit, I would have lost my turn. I'm sure you hard core fashionistas are aghast at my appalling lack of knowledge and are un-liking me on FaceBook as you read this. To be honest I may never have known who she is if I had not been power shopping in H&M.
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I enjoy shopping, browsing through clothing store racks seeing what’s new, what’s hot, what I have to have. Whipping through H&M I found a basic but cute, long-sleeved, button down, black shirt on sale. I grabbed it in different sizes and headed for the dressing room. For women, clothing sizes are meaningless. They vary between stores, designers, styles and seasons. Assuming you’ve been able to maintain, a size six this year may not be the same as last year’s. Buying without trying is done at your own peril.
As I’m standing in line for the fitting room an H&M employee said to me, “Has anyone ever told you, you look like Pat Cleveland?” I smiled and said, “No, who’s Pat Cleveland?” He blinked and said, “She’s a Black supermodel from the 70s.” Is this a new H&M sales strategy? Off handedly dish out an amazing compliment and watch as the dollars just fall out of my wallet?
Damn good plan.
Who’s not susceptible to unexpected flattery that somehow manages not to sound blatantly obsequious? I assure you, all my Ego heard was “supermodel.” And now, not only was I willing to buy the shirt without trying it on, but I also wanted to get some pants, dresses, shoes . . . oh hell, just back the truck up. Didn’t you hear the man? I’m a supermodel!
The slightly more rational part of myself reminded me that, “yes,” we still needed to try the shirt on and, “no,” we weren’t going to let one compliment – albeit the best one ever – push us into a shopaholic orgy, right? Right?
Could it be that this man was just hitting on me? No, he was Gay. My Ego would like to think that I have what it takes to make a man change teams, mid-season, but he was easily in his late 40s early 50s. He’s riding that horse to the finish line.
His sexual orientation in no way diminished the effect of the compliment. As I strutted, catwalk style, into a now available dressing room I fired up my BlackBerry and consulted Google. I had to know who Pat Cleveland was. Thank goodness for 3G.
This woman, in her heyday, was so jaw-droppingly gorgeous that in person she must look like nothing less than a goddess. She put the “f” in effin fierce. Oh, I was definitely buying the shirt now.
Today, our barometer of beauty is Halle Berry. But if you put her next to Pat Cleveland in her prime, you wouldn’t see Halle. And if you did you’d ask her to please get out of the way so you could have an unobstructed view of Pat. Don’t get me wrong, they are both breathtaking women, but Pat would have had you reaching for an asthma inhaler.
|Vanessa Williams, Stacy Dash, Tia & Tamara Mowry, Raven Symone, Jada Pinkett Smith, Leighann Lord|
Mind you, this was not my first “You look like a famous pretty lady” comment. Over the years I’ve been told I favor Vanessa Williams, Stacy Dash, Tia & Tamara Mowry, Raven Symone and more often than not, Jada Pinkett Smith. They are all very attractive women so I can’t say I mind. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be told they look like Aunt Esther (from Sanford & Son), even if they do.
I was thrilled to be compared to such stunning a woman as Pat Cleveland, but I was also ashamed of not already knowing who she is. She began modeling in 1967 at the age of 15. Known for her wicked walk and luscious hair she owned the catwalk. Not afraid to live out loud, she partied at Studio 54 when Studio 54 was Studio 54. In an interview with publisher Philip Utz, he wrote: “Karl Lagerfeld remembers her ‘undulating on tables in short skirts and no underwear.’” Oh snap, that’s very loud. I’ve had my “Flash Dance” moments, but panties were always part of the package.
Even now as a mature woman, Pat Cleveland’s pictures radiate glamour, vivacious beauty, and quintessential charm. In reality, body type, height and skin tone are where the similarities end between me and Pat Cleveland, but I’ll take it and the shirt too. This supermodel loves a good end-of-season sale.
Join The Urban Erma on Facebook or follow on Twitter. You can listen to the podcast on Podbean or subscribe on iTunes. Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. Check out her upcoming shows @ www.VeryFunnyLady.com. Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter. TheUrbanErma@gmail.com